June 2012

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Open Systems at the Summit

Building owners are still confused about what is really open and what isn’t. 

Paul Ehrlich, Ira Goldschmidt & Angela Lewis
Building Intelligence Group

As published
Engineered Systems 
June Issue - Column

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A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to attend the bi-annual Tridium Niagara Summit.  This year’s event in Las Vegas had over 1200 attendees and has become one of the best events in the industry for networking, and learning about what is new and changing in controls, BAS and integration.  In addition to attending I also was asked to present as part of a panel on Open Systems.  Unfortunately I missed the call to organize the panel and my co-panelists decided it would be best to have an informal session – kind of like four old friends sitting having a beer.  One thing turned into another and the panel proceeded without slides, or script, but complete with tall tables and a chilled six-pack of beer. 

It was good to be part of this panel with three associates that have vast industry experience and have been so involved in numerous efforts related to open systems including BACnet, LonTalk, and XML standards such as OBIX.  Ken Sinclair has often used his position of the Automated Buildings website (and as the previous author of this column) to promote the use of open systems, often pushing for openness well beyond what is available in the industry today.  John Petze has been active in this area in his roles with Andover, Tridium, and Cisco.  He is currently with Sky Foundry and their tools; SkySpark provides the ability to analyze building automation data and provide system analytics.  Our final panelist was Anno Scholten, who has had leadership roles in both established and startup companies.  Recently he has been involved in the challenges of connecting building automation systems for automated demand response.

[an error occurred while processing this directive] While what the panel had to say was of moderate interest, what was much more intriguing was the questions, comments, and concerns raised by the audience.  Here are some of the general issues raised:

All in all it was a great session.  The focus has clearly shifted from the more tactical issues of providing an open protocol to the much more challenging issues of open data management as building systems continue to become part of the IT world.  The session also pointed out that we still have a ways to go before we can truly consider our industry to be open.

About the Authors

Paul and IraPaul and Ira first worked together on a series of ASHRAE projects including the BACnet committee and Guideline 13 – Specifying DDC Controls. The formation of Building Intelligence Group provided them the ability to work together professionally providing assistance to owners with the planning, design and development of Intelligent Building Systems. Building Intelligence Group provides services for clients worldwide including leading Universities, Corporations, and Developers. More information can be found at www.buildingintelligencegroup.com  We also invite you to contact us directly at Paul@buildingintelligencegroup.com or ira@buildingintelligencegroup.com


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